Globally, 130 million girls ages 6 to 17 are out of school. Child marriage, pregnancy, family pressures, violence, harassment and poverty amongst other things, keep girls from reaching their potential. Adolescent girls who remain in school are more likely to live longer, marry later and earn a higher income to support their families.
The Keeping Girls in School Act (KGISA) is bipartisan legislation that brings attention to the systemic barriers preventing girls from accessing secondary education. It focuses on child marriage, religious and ethnic discrimination, female genital mutilation and safety traveling to school. Specifically, the KGISA:
- Outlines and highlights a non-exhaustive list of 14 barriers that girls face in entering and remaining in secondary education institutions.
- Authorizes USAID to utilize public-private partnerships, development impact bonds and other innovative financing mechanisms to leverage real results with measurable outcomes.
- Requires the U.S. Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls be implemented and updated every five years. This Strategy brings the resources of the State Department, USAID, PEPFAR, MCC and the Peace Corps to remove issues that keep adolescent girls from finishing high school.
On January 28, the House passed the KGISA!
It is now up to the Senate to pass the legislation. In order for this to happen, we need to convince both Democrat and Republican Senators to co-sponsor the bill. First, we will focus on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee so they approve the bill, clearing the way for the full Senate to vote. Then, we will push the full Senate to pass the bill and send it to the White House to sign into law.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Join Plan International USA, Basic Education Coalition, Girls Not Brides, RESULTS, UNICEF and World Vision for a Capitol Hill event focused on passing the KGISA through the Senate on Tuesday, March 17. This event will elevate the voices of adolescent girls and raise awareness about the need to keep girls in school around the world. We will hear from technical experts, Members of Congress, the private sector and adolescent girls themselves. All will share their hope for a legislative solution and elevated attention towards barriers to girls’ secondary education around the world.
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